Timber is a much used natural raw material. Timber and timber products are used as building materials (prefab constructions, plates, trusses, floor covering en timber cladding, etc.), for the manufacturing of furniture and objects, as packaging material, for heating and for the production of pulp and paper.
Considering the scope of problems with illegal logging, the member states of the EU have introduced specific legislation to prevent timber from illegal logging being brought on the European market.
The fight against deforestation has led the European Union and its Member States to take various measures against illegal logging and imported deforestation. For example, the Amsterdam Agreement against imported deforestation is a voluntary initiative of 9 European countries.
- The “FLEGT” regulation (EU) 2173/2005 allows the import of timber from timber producing countries based on “volutary partnership agreements (VPAs)” which are bilaterally drawn up with the European Union.
- The “Timber” regulation (EU) 995/2010 or EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) prohibits to bring timber or derivative timber products from illegal logging on the market; imposes the operators (i.e. any natural or legal person who brings timber on the market for the first time) a framework of procedures and measures, so as to guarantee the legality of their timber, and obliges the traders to guarantee the traceability of the timber.
Besides this specific legislation, certain timber types are listed in the attachments of the CITES rules, which, based on a permit system for the import and export, sees to it that the international trade in wild plant and animal species does not threaten the survival of the species they belong to.
The Federal Environmental Inspection controls the placing on the market of timber and timber-based products.
The consumer or trader who wants additional guarantees concerning the timber he buys, may rely on the labels which exist for such products and which have their own principles. The FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and Environment supports the voluntary certification: by means of a sector agreement which aims at 35% of the timber products brought on the market in 2018, originating from sustainably managed woods.